Introducing “Bet Finder”

As longer term readers/subscribers will know, we're constantly investing in improving geegeez.co.uk and, in particular, the toolkit that is Geegeez Gold. In the past year and a half, we've added a new metric (Percentage of Rivals Beaten), the Profiler tab in the cards, a more mobile friendly version of the entire site, new reports for 1st time headgear and sectional fast finishers, and a whole host of smaller changes.

Many of those changes were perhaps geared towards more dedicated or experienced bettors; mindful of that, we wanted to do something that would have broader appeal and, arguably, would be more accessible to our army of casual/time-pressed players. And so, I'd like to introduce you to Bet Finder, the sixth tool in the Geegeez Gold kit bag, and free to all registered users for the remainder of September.

To help you get up and running straight away, there is a video below where I put Bet Finder through its paces and, after that, some words and pictures about the new tool for those who prefer to read than to listen.

What exactly is Bet Finder?

Bet Finder is a tool that allows the quick filtering of the hundreds of horses entered each day down to a handful of interest to you. It is literally push button easy to use.

Consisting of two tabs - Filters and Qualifiers - we begin on the Filters view, which looks like this:

 

Above is the 'fully open' view, and users can hide or show all sections with the '+' and '-' buttons top left:

 

 

Clicking on any blue header block will open that specific section. Here I've opened the 'Basic Filters' section:

 

There are buttons top right for 'Today' and 'Tomorrow', and to 'Reset' the filters.

[Note that when looking at the 'Tomorrow' data, some ratings do not get published until the evening.]

 

Selecting a filter will highlight it and reduce the value in brackets  on the Qualifiers tab button - the number of qualifying horses satisfying the selected criteria.

 

In the example above, I've selected 'Beaten Favourite last time out' and 'Up in Class'. The Qualifiers tab tells me there are three horses matching those criteria.

Clicking the 'Qualifiers' button displays them:

 

The qualifier table can be sorted by any of the column headings, and clicking on the race time will take you to the race in question for further analysis if you're that way inclined.

There is a green 'CSV' button top right in the 'Qualifiers' view from which users may download the filtered list of qualifiers.

Beneath the Bet Finder tool itself is an explanation of what the filters are. Here, for example, are the explainers for 'Advanced Trainer Form Positive':

 

Where can I find the Bet Finder tool?

Bet Finder can be found from the Tools page here, or from the Tools menu anywhere on site.

 

Do I have access to Bet Finder?

If you want it, yes! From now until the end of September, Bet Finder is free to all registered users. From October onwards, it will move into the premium Geegeez Gold service.

If you're not already a registered subscriber, you can register here. If you are, and/or you're a Gold subscriber, just make sure you're logged in and go to the Bet Finder page.

 

I very much hope you'll find this new tool useful, and if you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please do share them in the 'replies' space below.

And if you're enjoying some success with a particular combination of filters and are happy to share, please do!

Thanks, and Good Luck!

Matt

Draw Biases at Galway and Glorious Goodwood?

It's the eve of the two concurrent midsummer 'G' Festivals, Glorious Goodwood (as was. did you notice how inglorious the weather was once the name changed to the Qatar Goodwood Festival? Surely not coincidence!) on the rolling Sussex Downs, and the opening day of Galway's marathon week-long session in the west or Ireland. To emerge victorious from festival meetings at such quintessentially quirky configurations as these requires more than a 'mere' understanding of the form. Preparation for those serious about the week will start with an awareness of the layouts of the circuits and the implications on race shape.

Draw is rarely as simple - and occasionally not as complicated - as the pundits will tell you in their one line summaries. Let's review the courses.

These are Goodwood's helter-skelter pistes:

If you're confused, you'll not be alone. There is a tight right-hand loop, and a straight of a little shy of half a mile from which point the run in is pretty much all downhill - having been largely uphill to the turn.

Goodwood is a front-runner's track for a couple of reasons. Firstly, when horses get to the turn into the straight, they tend to fan wide, giving up ground, just at the moment the pacemaking railer is stealing a length or two. Secondly, horses held up for a later run often get caught in a pocket, with the far rail of the home straight cambering away from the grandstands.

Indeed, only two horses with an actual draw (i.e. number of stalls from the rail, after accounting for non-runners) higher than 13 in a mile handicap has managed to win at Goodwood since 2009. 115 have tried. [Laa Rayb, the 2009 Totesport Mile winner, had an advertised draw of 15, but in fact broke 13 from the rail due to two non-runners inside him; it was Inside Story, from stall 16 of 16, who overcame the near impossible two months prior to Laa Rayb's more famous, but marginally less challenging, exploits].

The place to be, to a lesser or greater degree, is low and front rank, from seven furlongs to a mile. And yet... over nine furlongs, the bias shifts to high drawn horses who are waited with.

Wait. What?! How can the whole draw/pace bias be shifted on its head?

A theory, and only that, is that at this rarely raced intermediate distance - neither a mile nor a mile and a quarter - that starts with a stiff uphill climb, milers race too freely and run out of juice while ten furlong horses get outpaced before staying on late. As convoluted as it sounds, it may just be credible!

In handicaps over ten furlongs, in fields of 14+ runners (the race type and field size used for all of the above commentary), there seems little to no bias. Here they travel uphill for slightly longer, then take the outer loop - with its sharp top bend - before freewheeling down five furlongs or so of home straight. There is more time for jockeys to manouevre their horses to where they want them, and it seems a fairer track.

Most of the rain forecast has now been deposited and the going remains good, good to firm in places, so the draw data above ought to largely hold up...

**

Meanwhile, across the Irish Sea in Galway, there is a race for every racehorse. The programme covers the whole gamut from two year old maidens to exposed handicap chasers. Of course, we'll focus our attention on the flat handicaps. The layout is a little more straightforward here: a little, though not a lot...

 

Shaped like a diamond, features of the mile and a quarter Galway oval are sharp turns, undulations, and a stiff uphill quarter-mile run to the finish line. There is a shortish run from the seven furlong start to the first of two bends, both of which require wider drawn runners to either take back and wait or risk conceding ground on the turns.

Here is a snapshot of how draw and pace impacts the ability of horses to make the frame in Galway 14+ runner seven furlong handicaps.

 

Low strongly favoured over seven furlongs at Galway - handicaps, 14+ runners

And take a look at the draw and run style in combination for some real takeaways:

The first chart shows a fair linear correlation between stall position and ability to make the frame; but it is the heat map which interests more.

This is showing PRB, or percentage of rivals beaten (see PRB in the dropdown top right). As you'll see on the right hand side, horses that can get to the front outperform their rivals regardless of stall position (remember that with PRB a figure of 0.50 is 'standard'). We then have a gradation of colour from dark green (led) through amber (low mid div and middle prominent) to red (pretty much everything else).

It is worth noting the A/E (actual v expected) for horses draw high and held up (1.22(. On a good sample of 110 runners (ten wins, 20 places) these waited-with types have fared a lot better than the betting public expected. This is most likely due to a perception that their draw cannot be overcome, which inflates the available odds. And, when there is too much pace on the front end, those ridden more patiently (and having to travel less wide due to the strung out nature of fields in such a context) can skulk through to pick up the pieces, granted the necessary fortune in running.

Also noteworthy is the lamentable performance of low drawn hold up horses. Such runners are 1 from 48, six places, in 14+ runner handicaps here since 2009. Those who race mid-pack are 3 from 124, 19 places (15% place rate), and can also generally be discounted.

Meanwhile, over a mile and half a furlong, the main note regards pace and hold up horses. The slow starters tend to be too late finishers, collectively recording a lamentable four wins from 211 runs in handicap fields of 14+. As you can see, it doesn't matter where they're berthed either. Alongside the 1.89% win strike rate is a 12.79% place record, so the message is clear: look elsewhere.

Keep these specific pointers in mind and you'll have a leg up on the vast majority of punters at next week's 'G' Festivals. And if you want this kind of intel for all flat courses, distances, goings, field sizes and race types, there is only one place to get it: Geegeez Gold's Draw Analyser Tool. If you're not a Gold subscriber, you can find out more about Draw Analyser, and the rest of our form book and tool kit, here.

Good luck!

Matt

[Originally posted on July 30th 2018]

How to Use the Profiler Tab

The second of three articles requested by readers was on the subject of the Profiler tab, which we introduced to Geegeez Gold racecards this time last year. So, in this post, I'll show you how it works and outline some use cases, including how you can get around the inflexibility of 'today's race conditions'.

I've recorded a video for those who prefer to watch/listen, and below that is a written version of the same (or very similar content). These links will take you to any specific section you might be interested in.

 

What is Profiler? When to use Profiler Profiler: Beware! Example Use Cases

 

 

What is Profiler?

Profiler is a racecard tab that breaks a horse's (or jockey's or trainer's or sire's) form down by a range of race condition variables. In the example image below for a horse called Raha, we can see the FILTERS block at the top, common with our Full Form tab, and, beneath that, Raha's Going performance profile. All other variables are closed in the image, to highlight what is available to users.

The cyan coloured row with red edges highlights today's race condition: in this case, the going for today's race is good to soft.

 

WHEN should I use Profiler?

Profiler undoubtedly works best when there is a good amount of evidence in the form book. Its value is in compartmentalising that evidence such that patterns are easily visible. As such, it is typically more useful when researching the profiles of jockeys and, in my opinion, especially trainers and sires.

The example below shows trainer Paul Midgley's profile for going, distance and class.

Ignoring the cyan rows we can immediately see that he is almost a pure trainer of five-furlong sprinters, and his record at that trip is some way above his record over longer. We can also see that his all-weather form is not as good as his turf form; and we can see that his Class 1 and 2 record is inferior to lower class races, in win and place percent terms at least.

This is a five furlong race, so we can use the 'Distance' filter in the top block to narrow our analysis down only to that range. And I've also selected 'Hcap' as that is where the majority of Midgley's horses ply their trade. Let's see how the figures look now, for five furlong handicaps:

His record on good to soft or faster turf and, contrary to earlier perception, in higher class races is excellent. Note that the strike rate in Class 2 is much lower but the ROI is positive, just.

Things to be wary of with Profiler

As with all data sets, including Query Tool results, we need to be sensible and challenge the output rather than blindly accept it because we've been seduced by the black figures in the P/L column. In the example above, it makes sense that a relatively unfashionable trainer like Paul Midgley would be profitable in better class 5f handicaps while only maintaining a moderate strike rate in such company: as bettors, we have to be comfortable with long losing runs if we wish to play 7% hit rate trainers; it's not for the faint hearted, or those whose bankroll may be short stacked!

Outlying percentages or profit figures should always be treated with deep scepticism. Why is this singular condition so profitable? Does it make sense that, for example, Midgley 5f handicappers would show a positive ROI on good to soft ground particularly? Answer: almost certainly not, but his 5f 'cap runners' form on all turf going have a broadly aligned place percentage. That's far more reliable in the round.

Which leads me on to my next point: place percentages are more reliable than win percentages. Percentage of Rivals Beaten (PRB) is more reliable again and we'll look to add that to Profiler at some point before too long.

HOW Should I use Profiler?

So that's what Profiler is, how it works, and a couple of things we need to be careful about. But how should we use it? While you'll quite probably have your own ideas about utility, allow me to suggest a couple. These take the form of either knowing more about today's race, or creating shortlists/QT angles/tracker entries. Let's begin with the latter.

Horse Profiles

For the past two flat seasons here at geegeez.co.uk, we've undertaken a community project to unearth a collection of horse profiles. You can view the full list, along with any qualifiers, here. And if you want a route map for researching horse profiles for yourself, check out this blog post.

These profiles can only be generated when a horse has run plenty, so the list of better class all-age handicaps in the second post above is instructive; but you might also run a query in Query Tool to get a list of Class 5 all weather six-furlong handicaps, for example.

Trainer Profiles

We've already looked at this to some degree with Paul Midgley above. But what if we want to test a specific scenario not linked to today's race conditions? Let's say we wanted to examine the widely-held contention that Venetia Williams-trained runners go well in deep ground over marathon trips; but alas Venetia has no runners today. Then what?

First port of call is the search box on the racecards and, having identified the person (or horse) we wish to investigate, click the arrow by their name to see if there are any upcoming entries:

 

In this case, Venetia has an entry later in the week. So I click on that entry to go to the racecard for it:

 

Hmm, it's a shorter distance good ground novice race. Does that matter? Not necessarily. I go to the Profiler tab, RESET MY FILTERS (important!), and then select the TRAINER button and Venetia's runner:

 

 

In the above, I've also chosen handicaps only and 'All NH'.

Now, looking at win or place strike rates in the going section can be misleading for two reasons. Firstly, races on bottomless ground generally have fewer runners than races on 'terra firmer'. And secondly, as punters, we need to know what the money impact is, so that's the ROI column.

As it happens, in this case, the ROI figures align with the win/place strike rates in that they are more positive. ROI for heavy ground is NOT positive, but it is closer to break even than for the majority of other going categories. The same is true for longer distances in the main, though not extreme distances (beyond 3m4f), although samples are small.

But the fact that this race is at 2m2f and on good ground is a bit of an obstacle to what we want to achieve in looking at deep ground and longer distances. The solution? Go to the Full Form tab for Venetia and find a recent race in which she saddled a runner on heavy ground over a trip. Here's Profiler for Royale Pagaille's astonishing performance in the Peter Marsh in January:

 

Note that I've selected all NH handicaps on heavy ground. We can see that those parameters were unprofitable in the last five years (the 'Heavy' line in the Going column). But looking at longer trips, it is indeed the case that there might be a small bit of juice in Venetia's heavy ground handicappers over trips from two-and-three-quarter miles or so, and up.

Sadly, though not remotely surprisingly, changing the date range to the last two years - something you absolutely should do, compare longer-term with shorter-term time frames - reveals the edge has evaporated:

 

But I don't want to leave you without after all this, so one Miss Williams edge that remains is in small fields:

 

The above is the two-year view of Venetia Williams' heavy ground handicappers (chase and hurdles) in small fields (2-7 runners). In such races she's been consistently profitable over one, two and five years. I was curious as to why, and it looks like most of them go from the front (group 4), or close to the front (3) - thanks QT!

 

[The 'null' run is where the run style could not be deduced from the in running comment]

Sire Profiles

Sires can be profiled in the exact same way as trainers above; and, as with trainers (and jockeys and horses), we can create either tracker or QT Angle entries - with associated notes - to be alerted of our profiles.

 

Unexposed Runners

A second sire use case is when trying to understand more about a horse having its first run, or its first run under different conditions. We may not be able to know how that individual horse will perform but we can get an idea of what might happen based on all runners with at least a 50% common lineage.

Here's Our New Buddy, stepping up two furlongs to a mile and a half tonight on her second handicap start:

 

She's been beaten far enough - 12L, 11L, 9L - in her most recent three runs for many to overlook her chance. But should they be so dismissive? Let's find out:

 

In Profiler, I've selected Our New Buddy and SIRE (New Approach) and Flat/Handicap/Age (3)/Distance (1m4f).

The trip should be a positive and, at this distance, progeny of New Approach have done well in lower level handicaps (see Class 3-6). I've included field size and weight as examples, though I'd not be getting too stoked about them as supporting ballast.

More credible is the bottom row of the Trainer Snippet intel on geegeez, see image below:

 

Our New Buddy may get whacked again this evening, but there are reasons to believe she can show more for the extended range and for the second try in handicap company.

As with all horseracing data - and indeed information in any other sphere - nothing is alpha and omega: we need to get as much awareness as we can in order to make the most informed decisions we can. Profiler is one more tool in our kit bag to that end.

Good luck,

Matt

Sectional Timing, and How To Use It

Much has been made of sectional timing in the past 18 months or so, including by me, and it can indeed offer great insight into how races were run. But the challenge for publishers, including here at geegeez.co.uk, is to successfully answer the question, "How do I use sectional timing to inform my betting?". That will be the main focus of this article, but before that a spot of revision.

What Are Sectionals? And why should we care?

I recorded this video a little over a year ago and it is actually very good (I wouldn't normally say that about one of my recordings!) in terms of breaking things down. So, if you prefer to watch/listen rather than read, this is for you. If you prefer to read, scroll beneath the video box...

[Hint: if I speak too slowly for you, click the cog icon bottom right and change the playback speed to something more suitable]

 

 

I've written previously in some of my Clock Watcher posts about various terms and concepts related to sectionals, and those can be accessed from here.

The following blog posts are also useful if you want to really understand sectional timing concepts (and I would encourage you to block out a bit of time and work through them). They're here:

Why Sectionals Matter - by Tony Keenan

What Is The Point of Sectional Timing in Horse Racing - by me

An Introduction to Sectional Timing - by Simon Rowlands

Tony's piece is quite high level and a good flavour of the subject; mine is a little lower to the ground but still overview stuff; while Simon's excellent paper is chapter and verse on both the mechanics and some practical applications of sectional data.

**

Understanding Sectional Data Terminology

Let's quickly whizz through some of the key terms and concepts applied to sectional content. First up, what even is a section?

Section

A section is simply a part of a race. A race is a 'section', though given that it is the start-to-finish section it doesn't tell us much about the sub-plots within the narrative. Sections are not quite arbitrary and they can be of varying lengths depending on who/where the intel is coming from.

Here at geegeez.co.uk, we have three different section types: by furlong, call points and OMC.

By furlong, as the name suggests, has a variable number of sections depending on how many furlongs there are in the race; 'call points' breaks a race into five roughly equal chunks; and OMC breaks a race into Opening, Middle and Closing chunks.

Sectionals

Within each section, we can establish the amount of time taken, distance travelled, and position in the race (and lengths behind the leader, or in front), as well as things like stride length and cadence (which are very much for another day).

Once we have, for instance, the sectional time, we can make comparisons: with the same horse in other race sections, with other horses in the race within the same section, and with historical data for races run over the same track and trip.

Sectional percentage

Rather than raw times, e.g. a 12 second furlong, we tend to convert those times into percentages of the overall race time, e.g. the horse completed the five furlong race in 60 seconds and recorded a 12 second furlong in the middle of the race, therefore that sectional percentage was 100% (see image). Do not get unduly hung up on the 'how'!

Finishing speed percentage

Finishing speed percentage is a sectional percentage where the 'to' of the section is the finish. For example, the section might be two furlongs out to the finish. We calculate finishing speed percentage in the same way as we do other sections, and this specific number tells us whether horses were finishing faster or slower than 100%. More pertinently, when compared with 'par', it tells us about the performance against historical standards.

This is important because some courses have, for instance, uphill finishes where the closing section will be slower than it is for level or downhill sections of the same track. Runners in all other races over that course and distance (and indeed other distances at the same course) will have encountered the same topology, allowing for comparisons. [Hopefully that makes sense]

Par

Par in the sectional context is an attempt at defining how much energy (in percentage terms) 'should' be expended in each part of a race based on our understanding of prior truly run races over the same course and distance. What is a truly run race? Good question. It is one where it can reasonably be considered that the leader at each section went close to optimally in terms of efficient use of its energy.

We calculate par not by averages but by a logarithmic scale of race rank percentiles. [Again, these are mechanics, you don't need to know this: I merely share for the more curious!]

In layman's terms, the par percentile in a five-furlong race (where most are truly run, but a fair number are overly fast) will be greater than the par percentile in a mile and a half race, where many more contests are tactical. Specifically, we use the 38th percentile to establish par for five-furlong races at a given track, and the 20th percentile for twelve furlong races.

Par is a line in the sand against which to compare performances in a race.

Enough with the terminology, how do we actually use this stuff?

**

Using Sectionals to Understand the Past, and the Future

As with all form study, sectionals provide historical performance context for today's race: they help us understand what a horse is capable of - and, importantly, what it might have to offer under a slightly more favourable setup/ride. This video outlines some scenarios to mine for and, if you prefer blog posts, beneath the video is a 'words and pictures' version of the same.

 

 

Upgrade figures (UP)

Let's look at some examples, starting with a very obvious one originally flagged in this post.

Punchbowl Flyer came into the Wokingham unbeaten in his previous two races and exited that race having finished no better than eighth of 21. But he was first home on his side of the draw and, crucially for this article, had a solid upgrade figure - see the right hand UP column in the image below.

 

 

The UP column contains sectional upgrade figures calculated based on finishing speed performance against par. A figure greater than five or so implies a horse may have been compromised by the run of the race and may have more to offer next time.

As we can see (in the middle of the image below), Punchbowl Flyer returned to winning ways just a few days later.

 

 

The coloured blobs show how PF raced in the Wokingham based on his time spent in each section: fast (orange), even to fast (yellow), even (green), slow (blue), slower (bluer)! Like many others, though to a greater degree, he went too hard too soon.

The line above the coloured blobs show his 'Future Form': a win at 11/4 in a £10k handicap.

Making a list of upgrade horses is a simple way of highlighting runners who might be ready to win soon.

Here's an example of a little novice sprint at Wolverhampton the other day, where a contested lead meant two horses completely blew each others' prospects:

 

 

Both Beauzon and Sidcot Swallet might be worth another chance if looking like getting an easy lead.

 

Beware the well beaten outsider with a big upgrade figure

Sometimes you'll see a big upgrade against a no-hoper beaten half the track. Remember, the figure is calculating inefficiency, and you'll find a few horses who were ridden inefficiently but who likely would not have been competitive even under an ultra-efficient ride. Here's an example:

 

 

Juriste, a 66/1 shot, was beaten 26 lengths in this 1m6f contest. He might be capable of a lot better but the balance of probabilities is that he's flattered by his upgrade figure of 12. As with all form reading, we still have to make subjective judgements along the way, though most are fairly clear-cut.

 

Big Upgrades in Slowly Run Races

Upgrade figures are NOT speed figures. They are 'inefficiency calculations'. When I was first playing with our UP numbers I tried applying them to a pure speed rating (Topspeed, though that's academic). They didn't really tell me anything, which wasn't a surprise as the two scales (UP and TS) are totally unrelated. But what I did discover, again far from a shock, was that bigger upgrades often occurred when the race was slow early.

That doesn't mean the upgrade figure has less merit; far from it. It is very useful to know, objectively, which horses are capable of producing a notable gear change off a steady gallop if today's race looks like being steadily run.

 

Fast Finishers

A second 'use case' for sectional data, and kind of a subset of the first one in a way, is identifying horses whose finishing effort was a good deal quicker than the race finishing speed as a whole. We call these fast finishers and they can be easily spotted in a couple of ways, one prescriptive and the other user-definable. Let's start with the easy way...

Easy Fast Finishers

We recently introduced a Fast Finishers report, which flags all of today's (and tomorrow's) runners that produced a finishing speed percentage which bettered the race finishing speed percentage by 2.5% or more. It looks a lot like this:

 

 

In this extremely convenient example from yesterday, the top two - based on 'sectional upgrade' (the right hand column, Sec Upg) - were tidy winners, at 3/1 and 5/1 respectively. Coincidentally, they also recorded the two largest finishing speed percentage differentials (FS% Diff). This is not usually the case.

As a side note, FS% Diff is calculated thus: ((Horse FS% / Race FS%) x 100) - 100

Taking the top one: ((105.14 / 98.52) x 100) - 100 =

(1.06719 x 100) - 100 = 106.719 - 100 = 6.719, rounded to 6.72

That's a verbose way of saying it is not Horse FS% - Race FS%!

 

Bespoke Fast Finishers

But what if you want to find your own performances of merit? Maybe you don't like our arbitrary '2.5% greater than race FS%' cut off. Fair enough. Here's what to do.

Open up the first result for a meeting, then select the 'OMC' and 'Sectionals' options. I also tend to have the 'Comments' open, and usually 'Running Lines' as well:

 

 

Remember to turn sectionals ON on your My Geegeez page in the 'Racecard Options' section. Default display option is 'None'.

 

 

OK, with things set up (you only have to do it once), work through the results comparing the race FS% with the runners' FS%'s. Once you find an interesting one, scout the in-running comment (and perhaps the Running Lines as well) to corroborate the numbers. Here's an example from that same Wolverhampton card where a number of beaten horses were compromised by the run of the race:

 

 

We're looking specifically at the percentage figure in the closing sectional block. Here, the race closing sectional/finishing speed percentage (3-0) is 103.3%. See the highlighted block top right.

The UP column reveals both fast and slow finishers: Punchbowl Flyer was an example of a slow finisher (did too much too soon) further up this post; and here we can see that all of Parikarma, Risaalaat, Reclaim Victory and, to a lesser degree, Castle Quarter, had too much to do.

Parikarma, whose FS% here was 106.5%, ran over a flat mile at Leicester a couple of days later and finished in similar fashion. She may win soon, perhaps over a slightly longer trip. Those others are all worth noting in their next couple of starts, assuming their general form credentials also stack up. [That is worth re-stating, though it may be quite obvious to some: a horse must have shown it is capable of competing against today's race conditions - or at least not shown it is incapable of competing - in order for any sectional insight to be useful].

**

Sectional timing is a very useful means of understanding what happened in a race. As bettors, we need to be alive to horses capable of stepping forward in finishing position terms after races where they were to some degree compromised. Here at geegeez, we've tried to make the information as usable as possible via both our Fast Finishers report and our Upgrade figures, and I hope in the above you've been inspired to experiment with this data for yourself. If you're not currently a Gold subscriber, you can join us here.

Good luck,

Matt

 

Geegeez Gold: June 2021 Updates

Just a few small tweaks this month, and some minor bug fixes.

DR / RS columns in Card form

The biggest of the small changes, for me at least, is the addition of draw (DR) and run style (RS) columns to the racecard inline form. These valuable snippets of info can help understand whether horses were compromised by their pace profile in relation to the race conditions and, by the same token, whether they were favoured by those things. In other words, whether a horse can be marked up or down for recent runs.

Of course, in the case of jumps races - as can be seen above with the 22nd December form line - the output shows only run style (RS). In case the notations are not self-explanatory, they are:

L - Led
P - Prominent
M - Midfield
H - Held up

I'm excited about this change!

Gelding notifications

We have also added a gelding notification to the cards where a horse or colt had previously raced as an 'entire' (i.e. with his testicles still attached!) but is now sans noix. We record this for the first three runs post-gelding, as g1, g2 and g3. This race today articulates the full gamut of g123:

You may of course elect to use the g1 notification in conjunction with our recently published 'Trainer 1st Headgear / Surgery' report (shortened to H/S1 to us in the know!) which can be found here.

Bits and bobbins

A few other minor amends have also been taken care of, some of which you may not have even been aware were broken...

 

We changed the obnoxious green odds toggle on the card to a more congruent colour:

 

We reinstated official rating on Full Form mobile view:

 

We centred the 3LR label in pace data view (man, you've *no idea* how much this annoyed me!!)

😖

    😍

 

We made the season dropdown on Full Form contextual to a horse's previous run:

 

And we removed the 'Show/Hide Inline' buttons from the Horses for Courses and Hot Form reports. Because there was nothing to display inline!

 

All tiddlers in the grand scheme of things, but the ongoing removal of friction and the addition of bits of information amounts to a great deal over time. I hope there's something in the above that will make your Gold experience marginally better.

Matt

Geegeez Gold: May 2021 Upgrades

Another month, another set of new features within Geegeez Gold designed to help you know more than other people about a race.

Before we start...

Request Geegeez Desktop Site

Did you know?

Mobile users hankering after the good old bad old days of pinch and swipe to expand the desktop view on a phone...

...can still do that!

Within the Chrome browser, tap the three dots menu option top right and then scroll down to "Desktop Site" and tap the check box. (See image)

Hey presto - it's back to the future!

If you use non-Android type of mobile device, this google search will likely find the right answer.

I hope that's helpful for anyone still struggling to come to terms with our slightly different mobile layout.

 

Right, back in the room. What's new in this release?

Fast Finishers report

The first of two new reports is the long-awaited Fast Finishers report. It is based on our sectional timing database and highlights horses that may have performed better - or may be capable of performing better - than first met the eye. These are typically horses that expended their energy sub-optimally for one reason or another, the contention being that with a more even distribution of their effort they could improve.

The report highlights horses which have completed the closing section of their race notably faster (2.5% or more) than the race finishing speed.

The report looks like this:

The race tempo - three coloured and labelled blocks - is included so users may compare with the pace projection in the PACE tab for today’s race.

The report can be filtered by finishing position in the ‘Fast Finisher’ race (FF Pos), number of runs since the FF race, the race finishing speed percentage (FSP), the horse FSP, and/or the sectional upgrade (Sec Upg) earned.

HINT: Look for either a recent run, or an older run where conditions match today’s. Also, importantly, consider whether the race today is likely to be run at a similar tempo to the one where the fast finish was achieved.

 

1st Time Headgear / Surgery Report

Also new in this release is something we're calling HS1 - no relation to the high speed rail link whose implementation polarising opinion almost as much as the two parts of the country it is slated to unite!

This view displays the two-year record of trainers running horses for the first time in specific headgear, or since undergoing publicly recorded surgery. It's a similar layout - the same, in fact - to Trainer and Sire Snippets, but naturally with different content.

Here's how it looks:

The 'All' tab is a rollup of the content from the individual headgear and surgery views, and may be the handiest digest on a daily basis.

It is worth saying that, in the main, the application of headgear should not be seen as a positive and, as such, most trainers have negative records. In the same vein, though to a lesser extent, surgical interventions imply a degree of dissatisfaction with prior track performance.

Note: horses gelded or having had wind surgery prior to their first start are excluded from the report, as are horses with a first time headgear combination (e.g. blinkers and tongue tie).

 

Fast Results Course Dropdown

Sometimes we just want to know the results from a single meeting, say for example when we've made a placepot bet or the like. On busier racing days it can be difficult to isolate those races of interest from the swathe of results... until now. We've added a handy course dropdown so you can get just the results from the meeting you're interested in.

It lives in the top block, here:

...and has very few surprises. In the below example, I've selected Lingfield on Saturday (where geegeez-sponsored rider Marco Ghiani recorded a near 153/1 double - go Marco!)...

Fast Results Course Dropdown

Fast Results Course Dropdown

Show / hide odds toggle on racecard

Some people like to assess races blind - that is, without knowing the market - and we encourage users to try this at least from time to time as a barometer of race reading skill. To facilitate that, we already have an option on your My Geegeez page to show/hide odds.

But now we've made it even simpler to hide (and then display) the odds with a toggle button right in the race details bar. It can be found in the blue bar, and looks like this:

Odds toggle

Odds toggle

 

 

Minor fixes / amendments

As well as the above, we've made a few bug fixes and small changes, as follows:

Removed the odds requirement when rating a race

Up until now, if you wanted to add comments or ratings into the racecard option behind the 'calculator' icon, you needed to include an estimate of odds. Now you don't if you don't want to. It's still reasonable practice to do that, in order to see how close to 100% (ish) book you can get, but it should be your choice. It is now.

 

By time racecard sortation fix

We recently introduced a bug to the sortation of the 'by time' view of today's races - a very useful feature, for me at least. That's fixed in this release.

 

CSV export on Report Angles

In line with other reports, we now have a csv export function on the Report Angles report. It's the green button top right.

 

**

As always with new stuff, there is scope for issues to arise, either with the new stuff itself or, very occasionally, breaking something existing. If you spot anything we've missed, please do drop us a line to let us know. We'll get it sorted pronto.

Hope you like these new components. There are no game changers this time, but a good deal more helpful insight for your horseracing betting.

Matt

Geegeez Upgrades: 26th April 2021

If you logged into the geegeez racecards this morning and were surprised or confused by what you saw, sorry about that, and let me explain.

The video below highlights the four small (but highly visible) changes made, as do the words and pictures beneath the video - if you prefer to read than to watch.

 

Four small changes

  1. Expandable / collapsible race meetings

We've tidied up the racecard menu page further by hiding all races behind their meeting header bar, as you can see below.

Clicking on a blue bar, for example, Naas, opens the races for that meeting:

Clicking the '+' or '-' buttons top left will expand all or collapse all meetings. Nice and tidy.

 

2. Added Irish racecourse info links

We've also added links to our Irish racecourse information pages. These are packed full of intel regarding course layout, draw or run style biases, top trainers and jockeys, upcoming races, recent results, latest news and more.

We now have these in place for all courses and I encourage you to check them out if you haven't already, especially for courses you're maybe less familiar with.

 

3. Mobile card menu tweaks

We've streamlined the mobile menu to provide more space in your device's 'viewport' for the actual race you're looking at. To do that, we simply removed some of the date buttons and placed them behind a dropdown.

As you can see below, things are a bit slicker now.

 

4. Added Race Conditions data

The sole 'new data' upgrade is the addition of race conditions information. This is found in the blue race bar on the right hand side. Clicking on that link reveals, inline, the conditions for the race. This is especially useful in non-handicap races where the weights horses carry are often a little confusing without such insight.

 

There is, as ever, more coming soon, so stay tuned!

Matt

Watch This! Geegeez Mobile Coming This Week

I'm excited to share that, later this week, we'll be introducing the new mobile version of the Geegeez Gold racecards and form tools. There will be little to no change to the desktop cards and tools, but users on tablet and mobile will see a quite distinctive new style. In the video below, I walk through how things will be in the new 'better mobile' world.

NOTE: This is change. Humans don't like change. Some things will require a little getting used to. Stick with it, please. I have, and I can tell you I now find the new mobile cards miles better than they were (and miles better than any others out there 😉  ). But, of course, I would say that, wouldn't I?!

Here's the vid...

Sneak Preview: Geegeez is going Mobile

Not before time, in fact long after time is probably fairer to say, we're moving our services into the mobile world. The truth is that this has been something I've considered, and subsequently deferred, multiple times annually for the past five years.

The reason? It's really difficult to fit all of the racecard content you know and love into a smartphone screen (called a 'viewport').

My take has always been that it's better not to do something at all than to make a token effort at it, and so we've always shied from a mobile version of Geegeez Gold. Until now.

A further admission is that the reason we are working hard on a mobile version right now is that our hand has been forced somewhat. Google, who are a major source of new users discovering geegeez.co.uk, have since the start of 2021 introduced a 'mobile first' ranking policy. In plain English, if your site doesn't work well on a mobile device, you cannot expect to appear anywhere near the top of the search results. Bummer.

Anyway, that's the back story to how we've been working hard to bring the racecards and form tools fully into the mobile-iverse. And in the remainder of this article, I want to share where we've got to. As you'll see, we're not there yet; and as you'll also see we have had to make some concessions because of space constraints. It's my view that the more dedicated users will always prefer a desktop (or laptop) device to undertake their form study; but I also feel increasingly that we can offer a hefty subset of the most popular components on the smart device in your pocket. And tablet users may find their experience matches that of desktop/laptop.

IMPORTANT: THE DESKTOP VERSION YOU'RE USED TO WILL NOT CHANGE!

We're still working on the racecards and results tabs - they are the most complicated because they have the most features and functions - but the remainder of the racecards have been mobile-ized, as follows...

 

Cards Menu

The first page you land on when looking at a day's racing is the menu page. Desktop looks like this:

The new mobile version looks like this. The date buttons, plus search and tracker, have been neatly added at the top, with the dropdowns for all races and reports still available.

Below that, as you can see, part of the race titles cannot be seen, but these are visible by dragging across with your finger. The mobile version uses something called 'horizontal scroll' to enable users to easily view data at the right hand end of tables, and the first instance of that is on the cards menu.

Geegeez mobile racecard menu page

Geegeez mobile racecard menu page

.

 

Full Form

Desktop Full Form looks like this and, of course, that is a LOT of content to fit into a mobile window, especially in portrait (i.e. how we normally hold our phones: taller and thinner, rather than the shorter wider phone-on-its-side 'landscape') view.

The mobile Full Form also uses horizontal scroll in the data areas (second image below). We've recreated everything from the desktop version, including the 'show/hide' ability for Filters, Race Record, Race Entries and Race Form. These are how the Filters display on mobile.

Full Form race filters have been faithfully replicated on mobile

Full Form race filters have been faithfully replicated on mobile

And here is the data content area:

Full Form data uses horizontal scroll to incorporate all information on a mobile viewport

Full Form data uses horizontal scroll to incorporate all information on a mobile viewport

In the above image, I've scrolled across a little so both the start and end of the table data are out of sight. Having been playing for a few days, this is a surprisingly useful way of displaying more information than there is room for on screen. [Of course, more is visible in landscape mode, i.e. if you rotate your phone 90 degrees; and tablet presents a fantastic - probably better even than desktop - experience].

 

Profiler

Profiler is also a complete and faithful replication of the desktop version, again using horizontal scroll to display the elements at the right hand end of tables. In this tab, most users are interested in the left hand side of the cyan highlighted rows and so this will work 'as is' for them.

Profiler works pretty much *native* on mobile

Profiler works pretty much *native* on mobile

 

Instant Expert

Instant Expert has presented a lot of challenges, for two reasons. Firstly, it is our most popular view and so absolutely has to be the best it can be. Secondly, there is a huge amount of intel crammed into the view. Alas, those two elements are not especially compatible, so we've designed different views for portrait and landscape.

Portrait View

Looking at your phone in portrait (tall, thin) mode will display a basic overview of Instant Expert:

Instant Expert in portrait is a basic overview of the relevant form credentials of the field

Instant Expert in portrait is a basic overview of the relevant form credentials of the field

We've retained 'win/place', 'all/hcap' and the date range filters, as well as the horse/trainer/jockey/sire and race code dropdown options. But we were unable to include the ratings column or the range dropdowns (e.g. going from soft to heavy, etc) in this view.

You'll also notice that the columns have gone from three colour blocks to one - again due to space limitations. The numbers in the blocks are 'runs' (for instance, Al Ozzdi has had three runs on today's going, the 'Go' column) and column sortation is done on the basis of percentages. While that is confusing on the face of it, it enables the retention of two key pieces of information: first, sorting by the horse with the best performance in percentage terms; and second, understanding how many runs that percentage was achieved against (i.e. not discounting a horse who has failed only once against a given criterion and, equally, not marking up a horse too much for going well just once against a given criterion).

Hopefully that all makes sense: the summary is that we've distilled all we can in terms of the available space. And I'm pretty happy with what we've achieved here.

Landscape View

In landscape - with your phone viewed on its side - you will see a much more familiar Instant Expert. Indeed, you'll see everything as you'd expect, including the inline form when tapping on a colour block.

Landscape Instant Expert is very close to the existing desktop version

Landscape Instant Expert is very close to the existing desktop version

All sortation of columns etc works as you know and love, and I'm delighted we've been able to exactly replicate the existing Instant Expert on mobile devices. It was a lot more fiddly than might first appear!

 

Pace

The pace tab is another that fits perfectly on your phone when viewed in landscape (side on), and we again use horizontal scroll to allow you to see everything in the more natural portrait mode. Here's portrait:

Pace tab is replicated faithfully and uses horizontal scroll for its portrait mode

Pace tab is replicated faithfully and uses horizontal scroll for its portrait mode

Again, I've found this to be highly user-friendly even in portrait mode, and a big step up on the current messing around with pinch and zoom involved when out and about.

 

Draw

Draw is a clean experience even in portrait, the two slight changes being horizontal scroll to access the right hand columns in the tables; and the charts being a little more 'square' than is the case on desktop.

Top section of mobile draw tap in portrait mode

Top section of mobile draw tap in portrait mode

I've scrolled across to the right of the table in the above screenshot. As you can see, there are a lot of data in there, so we've added faint grey divider lines to break it up a touch. Still, it is a dense forest of numbers, I grant you.

Below is the heat map in mobile portrait view.

Draw Pace Heat Map in portrait mode

Draw Pace Heat Map in portrait mode

 

Odds

The odds view is a simple one and, though we've moved the form and 'best' columns, I don't think we've lost any of the value of this quick digest of the market.

Mobile odds tab view

Mobile odds tab view

 

Next Steps

So that's where we're at with the development. Right now, we're working on the card and results tabs, which will not include all current features I'm afraid - at least not in portrait mode - simply because of space constraints. Indeed, they will likely look more different than any of the other tabs (except portrait Instant Expert). After that, I'll need to go over everything to ensure it all 'hangs together' as it should. We will be working through the report suite and form tools as well in due course, but the main focus at this time has been on the racecards.

It's always a kiss of death to put release date timescales on these things, so what follows is assuming no major dramas manifest in the coming days: I hope we'll have the mobile cards live before the end of the month. *crosses fingers - and, indeed, legs*

This has been a thorny technical challenge because we didn't build 'from the ground up' but, rather, repurposed our existing content into a mobile format. But we're building it intuitively and to add as much value as possible while you're away from your desk. I promise, bathroom break form study will have never felt so good!

Matt

p.s. we are also working on sectional 'fast finishers' features which ought to be on stream in March. So much to follow in 2021: we're always re-investing in your Geegeez 🏆

Live Now: New Card / Full Form Components

Our first upgrades of 2021 are now live!

We've added:

- Dam data

- PRB by Race Code on Full Form

- Prize Money (win and total)

- Season Date search on Full Form (due imminently)

All of these can be seen in the five minute video below; and they are, of course, explained in more detail in our comprehensive User Guide (click here for that).

I very much hope you'll find them useful!

Matt

 

New Metric on Geegeez Gold: PRB

We're constantly striving to improve Geegeez Gold, our flagship racecards and form tool service. After a few quieter months - lots going on in the background - we're about to inject a new metric into Gold.

We've deliberately kept it away from the more commonly used numbers, simply because if you don't want to engage with this, we don't want it in your way. At the same time, I very much believe you should take heed of the new number and that's why I've put this post together.

So, what is the new number? Well, it's not exactly brand new as we already display Percentage of Rivals Beaten (PRB) within our draw content. But we're now extending it calculation and display to trainer, jockey and sire data. Here is some more information on Percentage of Rivals Beaten...

What is PRB?

Percentage of Rivals Beaten (PRB) is a calculation based on a horse's finishing position in relation to field size. It makes key distinctions between a horse finishing, say, third in a five-horse race (PRB 50%, two rivals beaten, beaten by two rivals) and finishing third in an eleven-horse race (PRB 80%, eight rivals beaten, beaten by two rivals).

For a collection of results - for example, a trainer's record over the last year - we take an average of all the individual PRB scores.

On geegeez.co.uk, we express PRB as a number between 0 and 1. So, in the examples above, 50% is 0.5 and 80% is 0.8.

What is convenient about PRB is that a par score is always 50% of rivals beaten, or 0.5. This means that a trainer with a one-year PRB of 0.55, 55% of rivals beaten, is doing very well; conversely, a trainer with 0.45 as his PRB is under-performing in finishing position terms.

It is always important to remember that finishing position is not the only number in town and, as with all numbers, it should be used sensibly and in concert with other metrics.

Why is PRB useful?

PRB is useful because it helps to make small datasets bigger. In racing we are almost always hamstrung by small datasets, relative to what general statistics would consider so at any rate. And when we then try to discern knowledge from the data by looking only at wins we ignore seven-eighths of the information we have (assuming an average field size of eight, one winner, seven losers).

If we had 1,000,000 wins to consider, that wouldn't be much of an issue. But we don't. We have much smaller groups of wins and runs with which to work.

Historically I've used place percentages to enlarge the positive to negative comparison: using our eight-runner average, we now have three 'wins' (placed horses) for five losses (unplaced horses). That's much better but still lacking in nuance.

PRB awards 'score' to every runner except tail end Charlie in every race (ignoring non-completions which are dealt with separately - an explanation of how we've accounted for them will appear in the user guide as it will add little value here). This has some challenges of its own; for instance, a horse that went hard from the front and is still battling for third place will be ridden right to the line, whereas that same horse may be eased off if/when four others have already passed it: it has given its running already and there is little be gained from finishing fifth or ninth.

Such issues are accommodated up to a point by squaring the PRB figure, and you can see how that manages the curve in the post linked to at the bottom of this one if you're that way inclined.

The crux is this: PRB is useful because it helps us understand the totality of performance of a dataset rather than just a fraction (win or place, for instance).

How should I use PRB?

PRB has utility in isolation because every score can be compared to 0.5 to understand whether the thing being measured - trainer, jockey or sire performance in our case - is better or worse than what might be expected.

But, of course, we should expect that, for example, Paul Nicholls will have a far higher one-year National Hunt handicap PRB figure than Jimmy Moffatt. He does, 0.62 vs 0.5 at time of writing. But knowing that is unlikely to add to our bottom line; at least not in or of itself.

As it happens, both have been profitable to follow blindly in handicaps in the past twelve months: Nicholls has an A/E of 1.05 (and an SP win profit of +16.70) while Moffatt has 1.26 / +21.50.

If anything, Nicholls' figures are more impressive, for all that Moffatt's may be more sustainable.

What PRB tells us is the amount of merit in unplaced runs. It should be used to support understanding of an entity, rather than as an end in itself. And it is especially helpful in rendering the inference of small samples sizes slightly less of an act of folly.

Where does PRB live?

Regular Gold users will know that PRB - and its close relatives, PRB^2 and PRB3 - have been happily adding value to our draw content for some time.

And now (next week), PRB appears within trainer, jockey and sire data on the racecards and in reports. It is on the far right, out of trouble for those not (yet) interested in its utility.

On reports, it can be found in the same rightmost column location:

Use it or don't use it, but I'd suggest you make yourself aware, as a minimum, of what Percentage of Rivals Beaten is; and when it might pay to keep it in mind.

You can read more about all of our key metrics - A/E, IV and PRB - in this post.

Matt

p.s. more new features coming soon!

Winter Webinar #4: The Tools One

In this fourth and final Winter Gold series web broadcast, we look at the tools available to Gold subscribers. Specifically:

- The joy of a (good) Tracker, and how to use one properly
- Draw and Pace blue sky thinking
- Know thyself (and thy bets)
- Query Tool: where the really good stuff happens

If you like to arm yourself with nuggets of profit-pulling intel that other people don't have, watch this video and then set to work!

Matt

p.s. if you'd prefer to watch/listen slightly more quickly,  use the ⚙ icon in the bottom right of the video screen and change the 'Playback Speed'.

p.p.s. If you missed the previous sessions, you can watch them here (#1), here (#2) and here (#3).

Winter Webinars #2 and #3: Racecards and Reports

For the past few weeks, I've been broadcasting live on a Wednesday evening around the subjects of better betting and Geegeez Gold.

In the first 'Winter Gold' show, I talked about setting up to succeed, and you can watch that here.

The second broadcast focused on Gold's racecards, and showcased a range of tips and tricks for putting them to optimal use for you.

And the most recent, recorded live this week, homed in on getting the best out of the report suite, and particularly Report Angles.

Webinars 2 (Racecards) and 3 (Reports) can be viewed below.

Grounds For Concern For Leading Superior Mile Runner

There are plenty of big handicaps on Saturday and we also have Group 1 action so it should be a great day for betting whatever your race type preference. This week I’m going to look at another one mile Group race, having previewed the Celebration Mile last week at Goodwood. This week it's the Group 3 Superior Mile (1.45pm) at Haydock.

I’ll be using Instant Expert once again for this race but it’s worth noting that there are some more lightly raced types in this race compared to last week which means there will be a few more unknowns.

The Going

The ground is going to be a hugely important factor here with underfoot conditions currently described as soft, heavy in places on Friday afternoon. It’s due to be a dry weekend so we’ll probably be look at soft ground all over.

To get as much data into Instant Expert as possible I’m going to include data from ground described anywhere between good to soft and heavy.

Superior Mile Instant Expert

A few things initially stand out here. First of all Dark Vision has failed to place in all four starts on softish ground. He’d have half a chance on his best form but it looks as though a line can be put through this runner when there is cut in the ground.

Khaloosy and Kinross both have both encountered softer ground once and they both won those races.

Stormy Antarctic and Qaysar have both had plenty of experience in these kinds of conditions and both have strong records. Stormy Atlantic has placed in six of his eight runs on ground ranging from good to soft to heavy whilst Qaysar is three from five as far as placing is concerned. The pair both have three wins when the mud is flying.

The well fancied My Oberon and Top Rank are yet to run on softer than good whilst outsider Graignes is also an unknown as far as the ground is concerned.

For those that are yet to run on softer ground we can get an insight into their suitability for testing conditions by using Instant Expert to look at sire data.

Superior Mile Sire Stats

Stormy Atlantic (Stormy Antarctic), Kingman (Kinross) and Dubawi (Khaloosy & My Oberon) all score well here and those sire stats aren’t contradicted by what we have seen from these offspring so far which is great. Comparatively the offspring of Dark Angel perform fairly poorly so Top Rank is far from guaranteed to enjoy these conditions.

Class

My Oberon has run once and placed once in class 1 races. Stormy Antarctic is by far the most experienced of these at this level with fourteen runs and six places. Dark Vision has two places from six attempts in class 1 races so he’s had plenty of tries at this sort of level without much success. Another strike against that runner.

Qaysar and Top Rank both step up in class whilst Khaloosy has failed to place in his only run in a class 1 with Kinross failing to place in two attempts in class 1 races.

Course

Not much course form on offer here but a big tick for Qaysar who has placed in two runs from three here. Both of those places were actually victories.

Distance

Top Rank has been most consistent at a mile to date, placing in all five starts, which we know were all at a lower level than this. At the other end of the scale Kinross and Qaysar have not been as consistent at this trip.

Field Size

Top Rank and Khaloosy have both placed in their sole start in fields of this sort of size. We have much more data for Stormy Antarctic, Qaysar and Dark Vision who are clearly comfortable in these mid sized fields.

A Look At The Form

We have plenty of question marks still as we only have limited data for the more lightly raced contenders.

Doubts Over Top Rank and Kinross Justified?

Top Rank and Kinross are two runners who are on the brink of having a line put through them based on the results from Instant Expert. Top Rank was beaten by a length in a handicap off a mark of 103 last time out. He’s now rated 106 which leaves him with 8lbs to find on the top rated runner here. He is lightly raced so may still improve but he’ll need to do so on ground he’s unproven on so comes with plenty of risk attached for a 6/1 chance.

Kinross has form on this sort of ground but it’s difficult to weight up as it was a wide margin maiden win. He did beat the now 97 rated Raaeb by 8 lengths (in receipt of 6lbs) so it was a smart effort on that occasion. His two runs this season have come in Group 1 company and he hasn’t been totally disgraced, especially as those runs came on faster ground. He’ll need to improve for the return to this ground though and he’s as yet unproven in ground quite this soft so backers are taking plenty of chances.

The Shortlist

There is little form that suggests Graignes is going to win this and the ground looks against Dark Vision so we are currently left with:

Khaloosy
My Oberon
Stormy Antarctic
Qaysar

First let’s look at the more exposed pair of Stormy Antarctic and Qaysar. Stormy Antarctic has had an official rating between 111 and 114 for the past 4 years which means we should know exactly how good he is. Instant Expert has shown that he is a horse with an okay record in better class races that relishes cut in the ground. On heavy ground he has form figures of 112, on soft ground he has form of 114 and that defeat came at the hands of Roaring Lion in a Group 1. Even on good to soft ground at a mile his form figures are 10222 with that blowout coming in the 2000 Guineas.

He clearly loves this ground but how good is he? He’s the horse to beat according to official ratings, although there are several possible improvers in this line up. He’s won two of his three starts at Group 3 level over a mile. His defeat came earlier this year at the hands of Century Dream. He carried a Group 2 penalty that day (which he doesn’t have to shoulder here) and that was his first start in almost 12 months so 4th was a decent enough effort. At Group 2 level at this trip he has finished 2nd and 3rd and the ground wasn’t quite as soft as he’d like on either occasion. He’s clearly good enough to win this sort of race and will be getting close to ideal conditions here.

Unlike Stormy Antarctic, Qaysar is completely unproven at this level. He’s improved each season though and is rated just 3lbs shy of Stormy Antarctic courtesy of winning a handicap over course and distance on testing ground by 4.25 length off a mark of 105. He’s failed to reproduce that form in two runs since but one of those runs was in a small field conditions race on fast ground and the other was in a York handicap off a mark of 111 and he was well enough beaten on his previous York run off a much lower mark. He’s probably not going to prove much better than his current rating but his best career run came here under similar conditions and a reproduction of that might see him reach the places.

Khaloosy and Oberon actually met last time in a Group 3 at Goodwood and My Oberon was 2.5 lengths in front of Khaloosy. My Oberon was also badly hampered by the winner so was value for further. Whilst My Oberon looked at home on the ground that day Khaloosy looked all at sea with the combination of fast ground and unconventional track clearly against him. Khaloosy is much better judged on his previous effort at Royal Ascot where he won the Britannia Handicap easily. That race has worked out well and beating Finest Sound (now rated 94) giving him 7lbs and a comfortable looking 4.5 length beating means he probably ran to a rating even higher than his current mark of 111 that day.

My Oberon has no soft ground form and although he’s bred to handle it, he’s previously been described by his trainer as ‘a fast ground horse’ so there have to be some reservations. Those same reservations don’t hang over Khaloosy whose sole run in testing conditions was by far his best.

Pace

We all know how important pace can be, especially in these smaller field races that can be run at a crawl on occasions. Here is the pace map for this race based on their last four runs:

Superior Mile Pace Map

As you can see, there doesn’t appear to be much pace in this contest so those that are able to sit handily could be advantaged as could be those who have proven themselves to be a bit ‘speedier’. Stormy Antarctic stays further than this so he’d ideally want a strong test and many of Qaysar’s best efforts have come when held up, although he is tactically versatile. My Oberon has a nice race style for this sort of set up but the question mark over the ground remains. Khaloosy was held up at Ascot but those were the right tactics to employ on the day and he’s been ridden much more prominently in his other runs.

Verdict

Assuming Khaloosy isn’t just much better at Ascot, he deserves another chance here and after just 4 career starts he should be able to improve past the extremely solid yard stick that is Stormy Antarctic. Meanwhile Qaysar isn’t a terrible bet for a place and could fill 3rd spot behind the other pair if things go to plan.

Dream Conditions For Century In Celebration Mile

Soft ground seems to have scared many runners away this weekend leaving us with a day of largely smaller field races. The highest class race of the day is the Group 2 Celebration Mile at Goodwood and that’s going to be the focus of this article. One of the most popular features of Geegeez Gold is the ‘Instant Expert’ and I’m going to use the Instant Expert to gain a quick overview of the seven runners set to take part in this race.

Place Data

First let’s take a look at it from a place perspective:

Instant Expert Place Data

Ground

I’ve set the going parameter to anything from good to soft down to heavy. We are probably going to be looking at soft, borderline heavy ground for this race but this should allow us to get more data. We can dig deeper into what specific going each horse has handled or not handled later.

It seems that Century Dream and Sir Busker stand out as two runners that not only handle cut in the ground, but relish it. Century Dream has had the most runs on testing ground and has impressively placed in seven of his ten runs. Sir Busker is next best with four placings from six runs on ground that is good to soft or softer.

There is limited evidence about Urban Icon’s ability to handle cut in the ground as he’s had just two runs in these conditions, placing in one of those.

Interestingly enough Regal Reality and Benbatl, the two early favourites have failed to place in over 50% of their races in this sort of going. Between them they’ve managed just three placings in nine starts. The only runners in this field to have never placed on softer ground are Duke Of Hazzard and Positive who seem to have been kept away from softer ground as often as possible and with good reason.

Class

Century Dream again comes out on top having placed in five out of eight runs in class 1 races. Duke Of Hazzard and Positive, who scored poorly on this ground, actually score very well here. That’s not a big help though if they don’t go on the ground.

Urban Icon, Regal Reality and Benbatl have poorer records in class 1 races but it’s worth remembering this will include anything from listed contests to Group 1 races and there can be more merit in finishing 4th in a Group 1 than 1st in a listed race. We’ll dig deeper into the race class later.

Sir Busker is the only one of these to be running in a class 1 race for the first time.

Course

At a course as unique as Goodwood course form is always a positive. There is one clear winner here and that is Duke Of Hazzard who has never been out of the frame in four starts. Sir Busker has placed in two of his three runs. It’s fair to say that no runner is this field has run poorly at this venue.

Distance

You’d expect most runners in a Group 2 to have a solid record over the race distance but it’s worth noting that the favourite here, Benbatl, has managed just one placing in five runs at a mile. This stat really stands out and along with the ground stats for Benbatl suggests he has a poor profile for this race.

Like Benbatl, Regal Reality is another who scored badly on this ground and also has a poor record over this distance whilst Urban Icon is another with a sub 50% placing ratio at a mile.

Century Dream continues to score well with the best ratio here having placed in 67% of his runs over a mile.

Field Size

Often an underrated criteria, many horses are better suited to bigger fields and others to smaller fields. Yet again Century Dream is looking good having placed in all his runs in field sizes of 7 or less.

The stand out here is Regal Reality’s record in small fields. He’s managed to place in just two of his eight runs in field sizes this small.

Placings Summary

Without having to dig deep into the form Instant Expert has shown us that Century Dream is the really solid horse in this race. Sir Busker also scores well in most categories but is unproven (having been untried) in this sort of company. Duke Of Hazzard looks pretty good but there are serious ground concerns.

At the other end of the scale, Benbatl and Regal Reality, look two of the riskier propositions despite their positions in the market.

Win Data

This is what Instant Expert looks like for win purposes. We are getting less data here but the data we do get should be more telling.

Instant Expert Win Data

Once again Century Dream is coming out very well on all criteria except course as he is yet to run at Goodwood. Sir Busker is another who looks solid and a good proposition over a mile on testing ground at Goodwood. He’s yet to prove himself in this company and perhaps the biggest question mark for this horse is his ability to run well in smaller fields.

Duke Of Hazzard is interesting based on his course record of three wins from four starts. He also has a decent enough strike rate at this distance and in small fields. He’s had only one run on softer ground and finished unplaced so that’s the big unknown.

Early favourite Benbatl only really seems to have small field ability in his favour for win purposes whilst Regal Reality is unbeaten at Goodwood but other than that most of the elements that make up this race seem against him.

Positive scores poorly for wins in any of these circumstances except field size, and even a sole victory from three starts in small fields isn’t that great on the face of things. Meanwhile there is little evidence that Urban Icon will be at home in this race.

Digging Deeper

So far we have a very positive profile for Century Dream, a generally positive one for Sir Busker and a big ground question mark over Duke Of Hazzard. It also seems Benbatl and Regal Reality might be worth taking on.

Let’s first look at Duke Of Hazzard’s ground preference as he may be easy to rule out on that basis. Instant Expert is only able to look at runs from the UK and Ireland and a deeper look at Duke Of Hazzard’s form tells us he’s actually run three times on ground softer than good. Two of those runs were perhaps slightly below par but in Group 1 company so finishing unplaced wasn’t a disgrace. He also finished 2nd in a listed race at Deauville on good to soft. It doesn’t look as though he’s hopeless on softer ground and he clearly goes very well at Goodwood but there has to be a suspicion he is at his best on fast ground and it will probably take a near career best to win this.

Are Benbatl and Regal Reality really no hopers in this race despite their odds? Benbatl is the highest rated runner in this field and has largely been contesting Group 1 races over the past few years so having more unplaced efforts isn’t the end of the world. Looking at the ground though, he has been beaten favourite on softer than good on three of his four starts in those conditions (and was well beaten over too far a trip on his other attempt). The worse the ground gets, the worse he performs it seems.

Benbatl also had some worrying stats in races over a mile. Two of his five runs at a mile came on heavy ground. Those runs are relevant here as the going may not be far off heavy but they aren’t poof that he isn’t effective at a mile. He’s won over this trip at Group 2 level in the past so he’s clearly capable of winning this sort of race at this distance but it backs up the suspicion that the ground will be too soft for him.

Regal Reality was an impressive winner last time out over this trip at Group 3 level (good to firm). That was in an 8 runner field which perhaps allays fears he doesn’t act in smaller fields (he does have a poor record when there are 7 or fewer runners). All his wins outside of maiden company have been on good to firm ground though and whilst he’s placed on softer ground it’s worth noting that his only defeat from four runs at Group 3 level came on soft ground. The ground is the main reason to oppose Regal Reality but the fact he’s not won above Group 3 level in eight attempts is also a concern for his backers.

That leaves us with Century Dream and Sir Busker. Century Dream looks extremely solid based on Instant Expert so let’s see if he has any limitations. He’s never run at Goodwood but there is nothing in his profile that suggests he won’t handle the course. Possibly the best evidence we can get is to look at the Instant Expert for this race but from the sires’ perspectives.

Instant Expert Sire Data

Cape Cross’ offspring have run nine times at Goodwood in the past two years producing two winners. That might not seem a massive win ratio but it’s only bettered by Sire Prancelot (sire of Sir Busker) here and even then that’s by just 1%.

Let’s now look at Century Dreams’ defeats in Group company over a mile with cut in the ground. His two career unplaced efforts in these conditions came in an Ascot handicap on good to soft ground where perhaps it wasn’t quite soft enough for him and again at Ascot in a Group 1. In fact this horse has won just once from seven starts at Ascot (33% strike rate elsewhere) so it might not be his ideal course, for all he is Group 1 placed there on soft ground. Away from Ascot his only defeat over mile on softish ground was a 2nd in a listed race at Newmarket.

It would be hard to argue that Century Dream isn’t good enough to win this Group 2. His only run so far at this level was a 4th in the Summer Mile at Ascot on unsuitable good to firm ground. He has won both his starts at Group 3 level comfortably and has previously got within ¾ of a length of Roaring Lion in the QEII stakes at Ascot (possibly not his favourite track).

Can Sir Busker defeat him? He’s been a rapid improver this season, going up 19lbs in just 5 runs and he’s still relatively unexposed at this distance. He was slightly unlucky not to win a competitive handicap last time out off 107 so could easily yet rate higher than his current mark of 111 which leaves him just 4lbs to find on Century Dream. Sir Busker was 2nd here as a 2yo, won a low grade handicap here as a 3yo and his only unplaced effort at this course was in the Golden Mile two starts ago when getting no run on the rail whatsoever.

The main concern with Sir Busker would be his ability to handle small fields. He’s a real hold up performer who needs a decent pace to aim at so it stands to reason he’d generally be better in bigger fields. He has won in 8 and 9 runner fields, albeit off much lower marks in handicaps, but was outpaced in several smaller field races last year (often at shorter trips than this).

The key here to Sir Busker is going to be the early pace.

Celebration Mile Pace Map

Benbatl is likely to lead with Century Dream well placed just off him. It doesn’t look like there will be a strong pace which could inconvenience Sir Busker. If Benbatl ends up being withdrawn because of the ground then there is likely to be an even slower gallop and that pushes things more in the favour of Century Dream and less in the favour of Sir Busker.

They say ‘class horses go on any ground’ but the evidence in this race is that several of these are going to find conditions (not just the ground) against them. Century Dream seems to have everything going for him and Sir Busker is not far behind.

I wouldn’t put anyone off either of these runners who are available at 11/2 and 9/1 respectively at the time of writing. Unfortunately with just 7 runners each way betting is far less attractive. However it could be worth maximising the value from this race by backing both Century Dream and Sir Busker in a reverse forecast.

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